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UPDATE: NJ Man Charged for Fatal Crash on Route 1 and Ridge Road

Middlesex County

By: Najla Alexander

Authorities in Middlesex County announced that a Bridgeton man was charged in connection with the fatal crash that occurred at the intersection of Route 1 and Ridge Road on April 12, 2024.AdMiddlesex County Prosecutor Yolanda Ciccone said on April 12, 2024, at approximately 9:36 a.m., authorities responded to Route 1 and Ridge Road following the report of a crash.

Upon their arrival, officials said, authorities located a tractor-trailer that had struck a passenger van at the intersection of Ridge Road and Route 1.

The investigation revealed that the passenger van then collided with two other vehicles, officials say. 

Officials stated both the tractor-trailer and passenger van caught fire.

The three people that were in the van were pronounced deceased at the scene were the driver, Charisse Nelson-Bailey, 24, of Princeton Junction, and both passengers, Daniel Vida, 28, of Princeton Junction, and Maria Passalaris, 25, of Skillman, according to officials. 

Authorities say that an investigation led by Officer Bryan Sites of the South Brunswick Police Department and Sergeant Jonathan Berman of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office determined that at the time of the collision, the tractor-trailer driven by Joseph Vega, 43, of Bridgeton.

Officials said at the time, it was transporting an oversized concrete load when it failed to stop for a red light at the intersection, resulting in the fatal collision.

According to officials, on May 29, Vega was charged with three counts of first-degree Aggravated Manslaughter and three counts of second-degree Vehicular Homicide.AdToday, July 3, 2024, Vega was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force in Georgia, officials said. 

He will be housed in Georgia pending extradition and will be subject to a detention hearing upon his return to New Jersey, authorities say. 

Officials say the investigation is active and continuing.